Robert F. Spikes' Mission Log

Lt. Robert F. Spikes was one of the original members of the 447th Bombardment Squadron who flew over from the States in February of 1943 with 321st Bombardment Group CO Colonel Robert D. Knapp leading the formation. Spikes was co-pilot in B-25C #42-53371 and Maj. Bailey C. Cook was the pilot. Lt. Donald Black was the navigator. This was the lead aircraft for the 447th Bombardment Squadron. Spikes flew his first combat mission on March 11, 1943 (although it is listed out of order as mission #21 in his log). Below is Lt. Robert F. Spikes' combat mission log that I received from his son Jason Spikes. Jason says his dad's plane was called "Death Wind" and that it had the insignia of the 447th squadron (above) for nose art.

321st Bombardment Group (M) AAF
A.P.O. # 520
1 Tobega L/G 3-24-43 371 2:35 Flak very accurate for the altitude. One B-25 struck by flak. Tail blown off. 4 parachutes observed in the air.
2 Sea Sweep 3-31-43 371 4:05 Sighted 10 or 12 enemy ships. Mission considered partially successful. Flight Leader Lt. Burns.
3 Sea Sweep 4-20-43 181 3:45 No target sighted. 3 Me-109s were intercepted by escort.
4 Plottville L/G 4-22-43 371 3:15 L/G well covered. Several fires seen. 5000 German and 5000 Italian leaflets dropped over target.
5 Mateur RR 4-23-43 371 2:35 M/Y and junction hit. 10000 Italian leaflets dropped. Escort failed to accompany bombers to target.
6 Sea Sweep 3-25-43 371 4:25 Enemy torpedo sighted and strafed by P-38s.
7 Oudna L/G 4-13-43 371 2:45 Mission very successful. 2 E/A fighters destroyed. Bombardiers picked individual targets. Lankford got 1 Me-190.
8 Sea Search 5-6-43 371 3:30 Returned because of weather.
9 Sea Sweep 5-10-43 375 4:05 No target sighted.
10 Cagliari RR Yards 5-13-43 371 3:40 RR Yards and warehouse completely demolished. Bombs dropped on town which was also ruined.
11 Villicedro A/D 5-19-43 371 3:30 Several hits on planes on ground which were not dispersed properly.
12 Villicedro A/D 5-20-43 371 3:25 Flight leader Lt. Seel. Mission successful and hits on planes on ground.
13 Licata Harbor 5-25-43 371 4:50 10-30 vessels sighted. Warehouse hit. Fires started in city. Flak heavy inaccurate.
14 Villicedro A/D 5-27-43 371 3:15 Flight leader Major Schwane. Large columns of smoke seen.
15 Pantelleria 5-30-43 371 3:10 Direct hits on RR leading to city. Plane 371 dropped only 2 bombs. Fires observed in town.
16 Pantelleria 6-7-43 371 2:30 Flight leader Lt.Seel. Target well covered. Large columns of smoke seen. Mission considered partially successful.
17 Pantelleria Gun Emplacements 6-8-43 371 2:30 Flight leader Lt. Seel. No E/A encountered. Mission partially successful.
18 Pantelleria AA position #11. 6-10-43 371 2:30 Target well covered. Ammunition shack blown up. Flight leader Capt. Bates. 4 explosions.
19 Pantelleria AA position #4. 6-10-43 371 2:40 Target believed well covered with bombs. Target covered with dust and smoke.
20 Pantelleria AA position #7. 6-11-43 371 2:30 Invasion of Pantelleria. Flight leader Lt. Seel.
21 Kerwin RR yards. 3-16-43 000 2:10 Unable to reach target. Flew over enemy territory. Was our first mission which was considered 1/2 sortie.
22 Mezzouna L/G 3-21-43 371 1:55 Unable to reach target because of weather and no escort.
23 Lampedusa Docks and town. 6-12-43 371 2:30 All targets well covered. Fire and smoke observed.
24 Sciacca A/D 6-15-43 371 3:10 Hits on landing ground and olive grove E of barracks. 12 ME 109 and 6 MA 202's came up after target but were encountered by escort.
25 Venafiarita - Olbia A/D 6-24-43 371 4:10 Fields, taxi strip and dispersal area well covered. 1 E/A destroyed. 1 probable. 2 damaged. Leo Wilson destroyed one ME 109.
26 Alghero A/D 6-28-43 371 3:40 Barracks hangars and dispersal area hit. Flak heavy inaccurate.
27 Bisacari - San Pietro A/D 7-6-43 371 3:30 Results excellent. All bombs dropped in target area. Flight leader Lt. Richardson.
28 Gerbini - Sattelite #6 7-8-43 371 4:40 Coverage of field good. Flak position silenced by strafing. 371 led our squadron. Major Pinger with 371.
29 Caltanisettia 7-9-43 371 3:15 Town RR yards and track well hit. Few bursts of flak from AA as we passed Cape Beanee. First mission our squadron bombed troops.
30 Town of Palazzolo - Milo A/D 7-10-43 371 3:05 Field well covered. Hangar seen to blow up. Lt. Jung's plane hit by flak landing in water west of Sicily. Escort engaged ME 109's in dog fight.
31 Town of Caltanisettia 7-11-43 371 3:25 Target well covered. Warships were shelling shore constantly.
32 Gerbini - Sattelite #11. 7-12-43 371 4:00 Flak heavy inaccurate. Bomb pattern covered target area. Explosions seen among planes on dispersal area. Hits made on landing strip.
33 Messina 7-14-43 210 4:25 B-17's over target 45 seconds before us which enabled us to approach target without too much flak. Capt. Burns single engine landing in Malta.
34 Monte Corvino 7-20-43 371 4:55 Coverage of field excellent. 8 fires seen. All bombs falling in target area.
35 Battipaglia RR yards. 7-22-43 371 4:40 Transformer station, warehouse and rolling stock and RR yards all hit. Mission very successful.
36 Crotone 7-23-43 371 5:50 AA heavy inaccurate. 7 of our ships stopped for gas before returning to base. Barracks revetments and hangars all hit.
37 Gasso RR Junction 8-6-43 371 4:35 P-38 crashed into sea. B-25 dropped radio. Pilot seen swimming toward it. Flak position N of junction blown up.
38 Angitola RR and temporary bridge 8-18-43 371 4:05 Bombs falling accross N and S end of RR bridge. Several near misses. Highway bridge not hit.
39 Cancello M/Y Stores Depot and Factory 8-28-43 371 4:05 2 B-25 G's skipped bombed. Mission successful Flight leader Capt. Burns. No of fires seen.
40 Cancello M/Y yards and factories 9-2-43 371 4:25 Coverage excellent. 1 MA 202 destroyed. Exploded and crashed in water. Claimed by 445th squadron.
41 Capua A/D 9-6-43 371 4:10 Hits made on hangers and planes in front of hangers. Large fires seen. Small fires believed to be burning planes.
42 Potenza RR and highway communications. 9-9-43 371 4:40 Target well covered. Sidings and sheds hit. Large fires caused in town.
43 Cassino ( RR underpass SW of Eboli) 9-14-43 371 4:20 Underpass very well covered. Numerous direct hits. One large and several small explosions. AA light. Our battleships shelling coast.
44 Isernia 9-16-43 371 4:10 Hits made on choke point. Highway entrance well hit.
45 Practica - Dimare A/D 9-17-43 371 4:00 Extremely good coverage. Bombs covering target area. One Ju 52 seen took off successfully but three others failed. L JU 88 damaged. Gasoline dump on fire. R.M. Sheets wounded leg by flak. Also #400 and 4981.
46 Castelnuva 9-20-43 598 4:05 Flight leader Capt. Seel. Bombs falling short and wide of target.
47 Bridge and RR at 795728 - Sheet 173 9-22-43 371 4:15 4 ships hit by flak. Capt. Burns and Lt. Nixon forced down in Italy. Lt. Brinkley, Lt. Liagrel Sgt. Lalum, Sgt. Quilty hit by flak. Mission success
48 Bastica - Borgo A/D 9-25-43 371 4:30 Buildings in flame. Planes in front of hangers hit.
49 Bridge S of Piano 9-29-43 371 4:20 All but one ship hit by flak. Sgt. Alton and Pfc R. Smith hit by flak. General opinion bridge not hit.
50 Larissa A/D 10-9-43 546 3:05 Flight leader Lt. Fineman. Sgt. Jensen and Sgt. Newhouse hit by flak. No of fires seen. Good coverage of field reported.
51 Tirana A/D 10-13-43 371 2:00 AA heavy inaccurate. No of fires started in barracks runways and hangers. No of explosion in are of hanger
52 Solonika A/D 10-15-43 371 3:00 Bursts observed among 18 planes on S side. Explosion S of center of runway. Flames shooting up to 1000 feet. Gray smoke to 3000 feet visible 40 miles away.
53 W M/Y at Skoplje Yugo 10-18-43 512 3:00 Possible hits on engine sheds.
54 S M/Y at Nia 10-20-43 557 3:55 Very good coverage. Many large fires. No of explosions described as terrific.
55 NE and SE areas of Athens Eleusis 10-22-43 600 3:50 Flight leader Lt. Spikes. Good pattern with hits on parked planes. 1 E/A destroyed by escort. One P-38 shot down.
56 Athens - Eleusis A/D Berat 11-5-43 997 1:50 Flight leader Lt. Spikes. One flak battery hit. One E/A probable destroyed by escort. No of explosions and hits on dispersal areas. Mission very successful earning the DFC for Lt. Spikes.
57 Athens - Eleusis A/D 11-12-43 371 1:50 Flight leader Lt. Bugbee. No of fires started. Dispersal area and taxi strips hit.
58 Sofia M/Y 11-14-43 371 3:55 Flight leader Major Sampson. Attack made with 340th BG. Sgt. Mercer and Manning credited with destruction of A/A. Lt. Broyles hit by flak.
59 Athens - Eleusis A/D 11-16-43 371 4:15 Flight leader Lt. Beeson. Very good coverage of the field. No of fires started. 10 in all.
60 Athens - Kalamaki A/D 11-17-43 371 4:20 Flight leader Lt. Spikes. Bombing pattern excellent. 1 ME 109 shot down by Sgt. A.H. Smith.
61 Cruiser near Trojia - Split Sobin and shipping at Grohote 12-5-43 557 2:10 Flight leader Lt. Spikes. Alternate target bombed when cruiser not sighted.
62 Shipping at Ancona - Guilianova Bridge 12-9-43 371 2:20 Bombs hitting bridge and RR junction. Possible hits on flak position.
63 Road between Baronissa & San Severno 9-14-43 371 3:35 Flight leader Capt. Burns. Many direct hits on road. RR junction was also hit.
64 Split 12-13-43 557 3:05 Large fires seen on shore but observation impaired by clouds. Flight leader Lt. Beeson.
65 Troops at Bihac- Alternate Sibenik 12-16-43 371 2:30 Flight leader Captain Spikes. Sibenik bombed. Target well covered. Probable hits on M/Y and highway. One large fire near M/Y. W quay hit.

Note: I copied Captain Spike's mission log from the original USAAF document sent to me by his son, Jason Spikes. Several of the missions appear to be listed in a different order from the dates they were actually flown. I have no explanation for this. I copied the log using the same spelling, punctuation and style of the original document. Click here to see the first page of the original document.

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The 489th Bombardment Squadron in Corsica